Beef price differential doubles in one year as prices fall
The beef price differential between Ireland and the UK has doubled in one year, the ICMSA has claimed.
Beef committee chairman Kevin Connolly said the gap between Irish and UK prices had been compounded by the introduction of the new beef price grid.
He said Irish beef prices had fallen by between 5.5pc and 9.6pc below the levels achieved this time last year, while UK prices had only fallen marginally by between 1pc to 2pc.
"The reality facing Irish beef farmers today is that the gap between the Irish and UK beef prices has effectively doubled from about €60/hd in February 2009 to €125/hd in February 2010 and that's in addition to the losses the new grid is imposing on the vast majority of farmers," Mr Connolly said.
"Factories had better realise that on many farms, and particularly dairy farms, there is now a full re-assessment of the farm enterprise mix.
"Given the disastrous beef prices and the losses under the grid, hundreds if not thousands of farmers are selling their calves at two to three weeks, as opposed to keeping them for two years, and making a loss to subsidise the factories and retailers."
In the first six weeks of this year, ICMSA calculates that 11,062 dairy calves have been exported, which represents a 161pc increase on the 2009 level.
Mr Connolly called on the meat plants to immediately raise their prices if they are to convince farmers there is a future in the beef business.